Internethistory and data - shortform story
(Sorry that it is almost
impossible to make it quite complete.)
There has been written volumes about "the net", computing and the developers of it. Much of it is just stories and not real history as nobody has done the real work on retrieving the essence of development
in the computer world.
It is a fact that most of it has been written by people that knew very little of what they was writing about, or was in some way interested in supressing the real facts.
This is just some points I have been trying
to get down on paper from my own memory and other sources. It is not complete but do give a kind of picture. It is also a problem to sort out the essential things to put into a list. Much don't hold water and there are some sinister stories that you never
will be told.
One thing is clear, you need a computer to make any reasonable data transmission, but data has been transmitted without any common computer too.
Data transmission by fire, smoke, marks on wood,
sound and flags (semaphores) is as old as the history itself. It has been used to transmit messages from one word to longer messages at a high speed over long distances. Secret messages are nothing new. China may have had early systems.
much later a revolution in it`s time, to a degree we barely understand today.
400 to 1000 AD
A few astrolobe devices are known from the period, containing up to six gears or similiar items, mostly simple gears to do some calculations.
A French inventor makes punched cards containing data for weave looms.
He chained them later together and feed the chained cards into a reader as one card did not hold all necessary data. Looms was produced after this
principle later and made the workers very angry as they was affraid for loosing their jobs.
We think that the first real computer is the Analytic (Difference) Engine, conceived by the eccentric Brit. mathematician
Charles Babbage, with very good help from Ada Lowelace later on. It did not work at the time, but was built with modern materials in 1990 after the original drawings. It worked with more accuracy than a pocket calculator. Did I forget to mention that it was
a mechanical machine?
1847 - 1849
Charles Babbage designed his famous Difference Engine No. 2. The help in mathematics and money from Ada Lowelace is usualy not mentioned. I think his work had been impossible without her. Unlike
the erlier devices that computed single values, the Engine was designed to calculate a series of values and automatically print out the results as mathematical tables. A working model is at a museum in UK. Ada was the first person to write a data program ever.
The Cathode Ray tube is invented. It becomes the ground for the much later TV of today and the computer monitor, and now we are looking for and using other monitors. The Cathode Ray tube has had many uses as an indicator
and even as a computer memory, not to forget the later radar display. So digital uses of the tube was even possible even as it was a linear device. Some found it was possible to use it as a memory device, reading back stored patterns.
Before the catode
ray tube did a Russian make a little picture with a rotating disc, named Nipkow's disk, and the principle was very similiar.
New Yorker Herman Hollerith reinvents a card with holes and makes a punch card machine
to record census data. He has got the idea from a system rail companies used to 'punch' record passenger's hair and eye colours onto tickets. IBM presents it as the first punched card system. The cards did hold data and was sortable. But the French weaving
machines used punched cards long before he was born.
1940 - 44
Bletchly Park in England was the place where the worlds first big computer was assembled in full secrecy. Colossus was the name if I am right, and it was planned
to still be a secret. It was a big thing with a great number of relays and more than 2500 radio tubes. It was possible to feed it up to five paralel data streams by paper tape readers.
At the same place a mechanical computer, The Bomb was a mechanical
combination computer made to try out every data set combinations found by Colossus. It was remarkably fast and efficient for the time.
All this computing power and inventions may not have been possible without Alan M. Turing. Most of the workers
did not know what they was working with. The place got a nickname; The loony bin. Up to around 20 000 workers had jobs in 12 small houses, but most of that people did not have a clue of what they was doing. But they really did shorten the war!
still have someting to learn from the work done in Bletchly Park! If you have the posibility to visit the museum, do that!
Remington RAND's UNIVAC is the first mainframe computer produced in sufficient numbers that businesses
can afford to buy. Some need for transmission of data to other mainframes was needed and different costly solutions made. Only one data streem was handeled at the time.
1960 or before
ECHELON, originally a secret code-name,
has now been used in global media, and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf
of the five signatory nations to the UKUSA Security Agreement — Australia,Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Referred to by a number of other abbreviations, includingAUSCANNZUKUS and Five Eyes, it has also been described as the only early software system, which can control the download and dissemination of the interceptation of any communication,
commercial satellite trunk communications. It was created in the early 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications
of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, and was formally established in the year of 1971. Norway was one of the best but that is not well known.
The name is not widely used any more, but it is still incorporated in the general spy-system on all communication
controlled by NSA but the intrewnal communication is still a problem, even if they cover most of the worlds communication.
In UK it is not legal to listen into every phone call, so they do that via Canada. Not very long after the start it was 30 000 employees
in the US. Today we guess that there are more than 60 000..
Yes, this early, the RAND Corporation, seen as America's Cold War think-tank, begins research into a communications network with no central authority
as a means of communicating after a nuclear holocaust.
Before this time (and after) the same need was covered by Troposcatters, a top secret system of sender network with big parabolic antennas using the troposphere as a mirror for secure transmissions
from one side of the world to an other. Most of these was big A-bomb secure installations in mountains and unmovable. The parabolic antenna was the weak point in the system. The radiation from the antenna was quite able to kill a man. If you think that this
has nothing to do with data you are wrong. The most common transmission was five bit Baudot code form an encrypted hole-punched paper tape reader, or a teletype machine. This was a stream of ones and zeroes. Some information about these systems is still secret
matter and many have not heard about it at all.
- Experimenting with the coupling of computers over a distance. No special electronic development in transmission technology. Serial interface was used.
Some time in the sixties several people
vas trying to send or store data by low fequency signals, most often 1200 and 2400 Hz sinus wave. Then data vas simple to store on different magnetic tape, but usually at slow sepeed. Of some reason was the prinsiple named Cansas City Interface.
early time we made electronic parts for the American space program here in Norway as our products was so reliable.
The first radio transmission system for data is developed in Norway for general sale to everyone that was
able to buy it, and it becomes essential for fast data transfer to and from ships. It transmits by a high power electronic keyed SSB sender with two tone modulation and five bits Baudot code as in old teletype writers. (CansasCity Interface.) How long distance
did it cover? At least from Norway to the south sea outside South Africa. Or close to around the world. The usual service for ship to shore and ship to ship transmission was Morse code for long reach, but this system was able to reach as long as that. Voice
AM modulation was also in use, but for shorter distances. The sender was able to do other analog tasks too on a range of frequencies. This sending system was faster than thelephone-canble modems and RCA protested on our data and said it was impossible to make.
We answered that we did not know that, so we still made it... :-D
The system are not well known today.
(I worked with the team building it. There was no satellites to do the job.)
Then I worked on FM senders and TV senders with a power
of up to 60KW.
The first work on a big network. The US Department of Defence's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) begins work on ARPANET a very "small" network intended for researchers in universities to share data
and access remote computers.
(This was the official explanation.)
London is the official first reciving place for the american signals, but it is not well known that the first place was a small place outside Oslo in Norway. The reason was the cold
war between NATO countries and the big Russia. They have still their oun rules to go on.
First-generation networking hardware and software is designed, but not easily used.
connect four universities in the US. The intention is to get a net developed.
Linus Torvalds born in Finnland. He becomes the father of Linux.
XEROX do start to develop a complete graphics computer
system sometime here but we was not able to find a real startdate. They made exelent computers!
ARPANET grows to 23 hosts connecting universities and Government research centers around the U.S. country. E-mail quickly
becomes the most popular application. This is really a cover story as we know it.
Intel introduces the 4004 bit slice processor. This is the first microprocessor, and there seems to be very little use for it. The Japanese firm Busicom wants a silicon
chip for a new calculator, so Intel sells it a general-purpose 4004 processor. It soon buys back the rights for $60K. That is not the official story. Texas Instruments get a world patent on pocket calculators. Close race... And the Japanese are raving mad
ARPANET goes international with connections offiocially to London and then Kjeller, Norway. But it was the oposite way. UK as a close partner in the cold war, and Norway as the best in electronic espionage needet
the net first. (Did you know that?)
First USENET newsgroups are established. Most of this early text only information is now lost. This is not very essential information but gave a picture of the development on a free
ground, and some historic information.
Clive Sinclair released the ZX80 home micro. You was able to build it yourself fom bits and pieces. Other types was to come and bring computing to the people.
Windows 3. (Windows
1.0 has never been sold as we know.)
Inkjet printing method is in development. Sinclair is working on a kind of thermal printer but it is not quite ready before the Spectrum computer and changes the writing media.
announces its first Personal Computer (PC). Featuring the 8088 processor, it sets (lousy) industry standards that still exists. It doesn't do terribly well, though, but all that changes with new versions all the time. Very pricey and not able to do much at
all, makes that sensible. Microsoft got the contract to deliver the Disk Operative System. The first operating system based on a Canadian, Tim Paterson, 16 bits QDOS is not able to do much useable things. (QDOS = Quick and Dirty Operative System. Was probably
partly stolen fom another place.)
IBM had intended to use Digital Researrch's CP/M as their operating system on small computers but as the division leader was killed in a plane crash can we never get the whole story.
Vision do demonstrate a windows-system that has to run on an expensive hardware.
The audio CD is presented by Philips and Sony as the new storage media. The longest melody the Japanese can think about is 92 minutes løng and that becomes the
absolute maximum storage capacity on a CD. The data rate was meant to comply with the German standard DIN45500.
TCP/IP becomes the universal computer language (read: communication protocol) and the term "Internet" is born.
The datapackage and handshaking are used as with printers.
When IBM's PC XT comes along, it establishes the PC platform as a real and useable system with an Intel processor, hard disk, and operating system. We get to know PC-DOS and MS-DOS, based
on the earlier Canadian hack of a system. It is still too high priced, and that opens for a bigger clone market. IBM did not understand how smart that was for the market. It was a free gift for Microsoft.
IBM signs a joint development deal with
Microsoft regarding OS/2. IBM did listen to us but did not follow up.
Late in the year (nov. Plaza Hotel in New York) did Microsoft arrange a conference about Windows, presented as a completely new thing.
Laptops become more common, but
are heavy to drag around with led batteries.
George Orwell's year. Apple introduces the Macintosh, with the world's first commercially released graphical user interface. A copy of what was done in the laboratories
of Xerox in Palo Alto. It gets rid of the command line and provides a visual representation for what was written commands. IBM is following as Microsoft do. It is not quite clear who invented the mouse.
Dell Computer Corp was founded, without any retail
Microsoft isn't too far behind, and ships Windows, but as before, version 1 is almost unusable you may not have seen it as only ver. 1.01 did hit the streets in november. It uses DOS to do all the legwork
as disk handling and so on. It sits on top of DOS to make the graphical interface, a GUI.
Digital Research do make a similar system, GEM, to a higher price complete, but better.
Apple tries to sue everybody with a GUI, and do scare the
competitors. Then Xerox knocks on the back door and tells them where they got the GUI from. Xerox Star computer is still in production. So is Apple's Lisa.
The first CD-players for PC.
Compac presents their
Deskpro/386 i in the end of the year with the ISA Architecture. This was the standard the clonemakers came to adopt.
Amstrad PC1512/1640 was one of the first relatively affordable PC-clones made by Alan Sugar.
The first computer virus
in the wild on Internet.
IBM presntts the PS/2 computers in april with the MCA Architecture, compatible with itself.
Quark changes the publishing industry by spreading to more than one platform.
Security risks expands as more modems reduces the price of going on the net, and the more common bootsector vira gets some additions.
Internet worm unleashed disabling 6000 of the Internet's 60 000 hosts. New terms
such as "hacker" and "cracker" emerge to the surface. Student Dave Rodes sends the first "Make Money Fast" email. (How many do you still get on a good day?).
IBM starts working on the Portable OS/2.
Microsoft Word as a part of Office starts
the battle with other word processing programs.
Early digital camera from Fuji, DS-1p seems to be one of the first cameras to record images directly as digital images and save them on a removable digital card. Erlier products from Cannon and others
was useing a linear magnetic storage method. (Predicted by us in 1964 for Kodak.)
The first CD recorders for PC turn up for sale, but the CD itself is from 1982.
IBM try to push OS/2 1.1 with Presentation
Manager. The contract with Microsoft regarding joint development is cracking up.
Super VGA hits the streets, SVGA starts to become a standard but it is expensive.
Creative Soundblaster soundcard has came to be a standard and will start
developing the PC as a sound machine, if possible.
With the Cold War tends to be over, the now-redundant ARPANET is officially decommissioned. But it is still there, someplace under another name. Thelephone lines
are still not secure.
Adobe Photoshop V. 2.5 Starts to move photowork to the computer.
CERN researchers create a system that links related information on Internet-connected computers, combining words, pictures and
sounds. They call it a web. The ban on commercial use of the Internet is lifted, making way for e-commerce. The text only communication is still the best on slow modems.
MP3 is a lossy compressed audio format made to save space, not quality.
AMD Am386 was the first very succsessfull CPU clone and was a real alternative.
Windows NT 3.1 presented. This was the first version but had the number 3.1 of some reason not understood by the users. Windows for
Workgroups 3.11 and TrueType Fonts.
First commercial LCD screen for PC after introduced as a watch display in 1972.
Marc Andreessen creates Mosaic, the first graphics based Web browser.
The PDF-file is
reinvented in Acrobat 2 as an useable format. It may become an ISO standard.
NCSA Mosaic is licenced by Microsoft.
Intel Pentium CPU was the first supersclar processor chip with more than one instruction per clock cycle.
Andreessen releases Netscape 1.0. Netscape navigator became very popular. David Filo and Jerry Yang compile an online list of their favorite Web sites. Jerry's guide to the World Wide Web becomes better known as Yahoo!
3dfx company is founded
for producing graphical solutions.
IBM OS/2 Warp. Too little, too late.
AOL, allows users to send and receive email via their own system.
Windows 95 came with bells and blinking lights. Errorfree? No! Really
a bugfix of DOS and file system as well as a rework of the graphics. Same old errors in the file system that MS claims don`t exist.
MS present the DirectX API in -95. It may later on lock you to MS products.
VoIP is an idea to send voice
over the IP system bound up as digital data.
The DVD standard makes more space on the CD format.
Nearly 10 million people and 150 countries are online. AOL switches from per-minute charges to unlimited use;
gridlock ensues, 36 state attorney generals demand cash refunds for members unable to get online.
Jennicam webcam-site makes Jennifer Ringley the first person to be famous for being famous (and naked).
Internet Explorer 3. (With all that nifty holes..)
Windows NT4 after 3.51.
The first integrated Micro ATX in a micro-family makes a single board PC with more functions at a lower price.
USB is a simple serial interface for fast connectivity. It supports up to 128 units.
AGP, Advanced Graphics Port gave a direct speed accsess port to the CPU at 66 MHz, with later improvements as the CPU got faster.
The first main computerboard with this new graphical standard was seen.
Steve Jobs returned to Apple.
More fast news on the net.
The Drudge Report breaks the Monica Lewinsky story online.
The Starr Report, with President Clinton's testimony, is also released online.
3dfx Voodoo2 graphic card starts to hit the
Development of Google
Shawn Fanning creates a peer-to-peer file sharing system, Napster.
Internet buzz propels The Blair Witch Project to a $140 million US box office gross. (Can only happen in
P2P Networks, Napster and so om emerged.
Functionable WiFi at street prices becomes a thing all people needs to get rid of some cables, with a securitity question. But it is slow with small processors.
ADSL - broadband becomes
a standard in Europe after ISDN. The telecompanies get rich.
The greatest threat to the Internet proves unfounded: Y2K arrives without that incident people that postulated, close down of banks and all other systems based
on communication, had to realize they where wrong. What they did not know, was that most communication still was run under UNIX.
The greatest threats to democracy and freedom of speech do not come completely true: AOL merges with Time Warner; Bush
steals the election in what seems like an obvious metaphor, the tech-heavy NASDAQ collapses, heralding the dotcom crash. The market is to understand that the new economics is only an inflated bubble.
The USB Flash-drive seems to dominate the removable
Mac Os X (10).
When phone lines and mobiles struggle to cope on 11 September, the world turns to email and the Internet. Even the fire brigades and police radio communication suffered as some
of the signals are routed by phone lines.
Windows XP hits the street. In many ways an improved 2k with altered interface and removed 16 bit code.
Apple iPod was a player for Apple owners but started more than just some music playing.
Many Internet providers have lost their financial support and have had to close down as most communication companies are impossible to sell. Many of the companies that buy others, buy problems and get insolvent. Even the
big KpnQwest goes down in US and Europe, even when they still earn money. Many other data companies goes down too. The finance ground plane is out of the market.
RealNames, the company that wanted to get round the DNS naming convention system by allowing
you type a real name or phrase into your browser, rather than bothering with working out the right URL, has ceased trading. It ran out of cash after Microsoft cancelled its contract. (It can be the Philips method to get rid of a company.?)
down after cooking the books and some leaders go to jail, and they are not alone to fix the bookkeeping.
Norwegian DAF is 25 years, working for the interest in computers, but as most other things starts to crumble.
Windows XP Media Center Edition
emerges in Europe, but sale is for a later time.
iTunes 4 and the first version for Windows.
Athlon 64 CPU from AMD.
64-bit computing sold directly to the customer, who found that
very little of the former software was able to work in this new setting.
PCI Express starts to replace AGP, and was running at up to 2 GB/s.
Google Earth in the start.
Multi-core processors presented and starts a new CPU race. To run the parts together was a real pain to get working good.
AMD buy the ATi videocard developer.
Intel Core 2 was the first major processor redesign
since the Pentium in 1993.
Windows Vista and Office 2007. It is some kind of ecco from the future.
I think that I have lost some essential points here, and if I find them I have to put them in from time
to time. If you miss something please send a mail.
Besides the Internet there was a vast number of Bulletin Boards anybody with a phone line, a computer, a modem and some communication software was able to log into. Offline readers was developed to make
the log on time as short as possible. Some Bulletin Boards (bbs) is still alive - on the internet.